Cardinal O'Malley poses for a photo with men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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Each year, around this time, we like to hold a retreat for men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Normally, we would hold the gathering with all the men together in a retreat house. However, because of COVID, this year, we decided to hold three smaller gatherings, each in a different parish -- St. Mary's in Dedham, St. Bridget's in South Boston, and Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury.
On Saturday, I visited with the different groups in Dedham and Sudbury, and the group in South Boston came to be with me at the cathedral.
I gave each group a conference, and we had a time of conversation. We also celebrated Mass and prayed the Liturgy of the Hours together. There was also a team of seminarians who were working with our vocation directors, Father Eric Cadin and Father Michael Zimmerman, who spoke to the men, as well.
On Sunday, all the groups came together for the 11:30 Mass at the cathedral to conclude the retreats.
It was a very successful event, and I think a lot of the men are seriously considering a vocation and the possibility of entering St. John's Seminary or Pope John XXIII National Seminary in the fall.
On Tuesday, I took part in an online colloquium, sponsored by the Spanish Catholic media organization Vida Nueva, which was related to the launch of two books that I published in Portuguese a couple of years ago and are now being released in Spain.
The director of Vida Nueva, Jose Beltran, was the moderator of a conversation between myself, the Archbishop Emeritus of Seville, Cardinal Carlos Amigo, and Sister Gloria Liliana Franco. Sister Gloria is the president of CLAR, the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious, and someone whom I met at the Synod on the Amazon.
The theme of the conference was "Vacunados contra la indiferencia?" ("Vaccinated against indifference?"), and we discussed the themes of the book as well as the situation of the world and the Church during the pandemic.
Periodically, I like to gather with the major superiors of religious in the archdiocese. So, on Tuesday, our delegate for religious, Sister Germana Santos, organized a Zoom gathering of more than 60 superiors of women's religious orders present in the archdiocese.
We heard talks by Sister Germana, Sister Pat Boyle, and Mother Sofia Millican, the abbess of Mount St. Mary's Abbey in Wrentham.
Sister Germana spoke about the situation of religious life in the archdiocese, and Sister Pat spoke about our Pastoral Planning initiative. Mother Sofia gave a sort of "keynote" for the gathering -- a reflection on the faith journey of religious life. She drew from the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac, saying that, in religious life, there are many moments we are called to sacrifice Isaac. It was a very powerful reflection. Then, I shared some reflections with the sisters, and we had a time of dialogue.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to connect with the sisters, particularly because we know that some of the communities have lost many members during this past year due to COVID and other causes. We are very grateful to Sister Germana for all the work she does, particularly for arranging this encounter with the religious communities.